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How To Play Bura: Russian Criminals’ Favorite Card Game Rules Explained

  • Bura is a card game played among prisoners in Russia
  • It has recently entered gambling sites as an online game
  • Learn where and how to play bura online for real money
how to play bura

If you are looking for new gambling games, learn how to play bura. This is the most favorite card game among Russian criminals that has recently hit online casinos. Interested? Check out the rules of bura to play this game online and win.

Bura – the origin of the game

What is bura? Known mostly in Russia, this is a trick-taking card game also known as Kozel or Thirty-One. The last alternative name of the game refers to the game objective as players need to collect a combination of three trump cards to win.

Bura gained its popularity in Russia as the favorite card game among criminals. It is often referred to as a “particularly characteristic of Russian (ex)convicts” who play this game to pass their time in prison. Although the date of bura’s origin is unknown, it has recently emerged at online gambling sites in Russia.

Rules and objectives

Let’s learn how to play bura. The most common version of the game involves 2-3 players and a deck of 36 cards. If you have a 52-card deck, you should remove all  2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s to play bura.

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The objective of the bura game is to hold a bura, i.e. three random cards of the trump suit. The trump suit is defined before the start of the game. Another way to win is to become the first player to score 31 points or more in trick (it refers to the game’s alternative name Thirty-One). Here is the value of cards in bura:

  • Ace – 11 points
  • King – 4 points
  • Queen – 3 points
  • Jack – 2 points 
  • Ten – 10 points
  • Other cards (nine, eight, seven, six) – 0 points 

The game starts with players placing stakes. Then, each player is dealt 3 cards with one more card being placed in the center face up – this will be a trump card. Non-dealer players start the game: one of them leads any card he wants to trick the dealer, the other plays his one. The higher card wins if there is no trump; if a trump card is played, it is considered the highest.

The player can lead a maximum of three cards of the same suit. Then, his opponent has to respond with the same number of cards. To win the trick, the opponent must play cards that would beat at least two cards. One of the players who has won the trick takes the cards and places them face-down in a won-tricks pile on the table and leads to the next trick. When there are no cards in a pile, players play with their hands only.

There are three combinations that allow a player to ‘steal’ the lead:

  • Bura – three trump cards
  • Moscow – three Aces
  • Little Moscow – three 6s with one as a trump card
  • Molodka – three cards of the same suit (no trump)

How to play bura online

Online Bura rules are slightly different from the traditional version of the game. They are also much simpler as the game is automatic and you can always glimpse into the rules. 

In online bura, the number and value of all cards remain the same, The only difference touches upon combinations: there is no Little Moscow hand, so you can play only with Bura, Moscow, and Molodka. 

To play bura at online casinos in Russia, place a bet and press Start. Like in the common game, you and your opponent will then be dealt 3 cards each and informed about the trump suit. However, in online bura you will be the one to make the first move, while your opponent must beat your cards. 

how to play bura
Let’s play!

Then, the game continues like a normal one. You play until there is no pile and three cards are left in your hand. At the end of the round, players should declare whether they scored 31 points. Then, cards are automatically revealed. If the player’s score is not equal to 31, he loses.

Best casino sites to play bura

Now you know how to play bura online. Where to try your luck and play this tricky card game for real cash?

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As of now, bura is available to play at two casino sites. 22Bet is one of them; you can find the game in the 22Games section (card games). To play, you have to sign up for the casino, deposit money, and enjoy your stay with bura.

1xBET is another reputable casino where you can play bura for real money. The algorithm is the same – sign up, deposit, play, and win. If you forget the rules or want to check the odds, all the information is available on the game’s page at 1xBET.

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